Apocalypse World is a post-apocalyptic roleplaying game by D. Vincent Baker and Meguey Baker, the origin and namesake of the Powered by the Apocalypse genre of system.

Apocalypse World has an implicit setting that is fleshed out by the players in the course of character creation, and which has different assumptions depending on which playbooks (character types) are in play during a campaign.

The first edition of Apocalypse World was written by Vincent Baker and released in 2010. It won the 2010 Indie RPG Award and 2011 Golden Geek RPG of the year.[1] A second edition by both Vincent and Muguey Baker was successfully Kickstarted in 2016.[2] The second edition updated some of the mechanics (Hx, battle-moves, threat map, etc.) and playbooks (including replacing the Operator with Maestro-D and Quarantine) but retained most of the original's design.


The game's implied post-apocalyptic setting is fleshed out during character creation.[3] Each playbook involves and provides inspiration for certain details of the setting, such as the Hardholder, who rules the local settlement and therefore has control over its size, population, and appearance. The characters' shared history is also determined in the course of character generation. Themes of the game are survival and relationships, and they come out in the "pure lethality of the game".[4] Notably, the Master of Ceremonies (MC) is not supposed to do any planning before sitting down to the first session, so that all players have an opportunity to shape the game world collectively.[5]

Game playEdit

Apocalypse World is an archetype-based game.


  • Three to five players (one to play the MC, Apocalypse World's name for the GM)
  • Two six-sided dice each
  • A different unique playbook for each player[6]
  • Quick reference sheets for "moves" and the MC's "fronts"[6]

Game mechanicsEdit

The system uses the Powered by the Apocalypse engine. It features dice-rolling checks for challenging situations of 2d6 plus a relevant stat. Results of 10+ are successes, while 7 to 9 are partial successes or hard choices, and results of 6 or less allow the MC to make a move. A notable feature of Apocalypse World is the inclusion of a "special move" for each class, which triggers when a character of that class meets the appropriate triggers.

The stats are Cool, Hard (violent, intimidating), Hot, Sharp, and Weird (psychic), with each PC having Hx (bonds) with every other PC. The default playbooks include the Hardholder, the Gunlugger, the Battlebabe, the Driver, the Chopper (gang leader), the Hocus (cult leader), the Brainer (psychic), the Savvyhead (mechanic/inventor), and the Skinner (artist).


Reception was positive, with Apocalypse World winning numerous awards. There was praise for the streamlined nature of the game, as well as the MC job, although the inclusion of a sex move was controversial and was explicitly called out as not for children by SFSignal.[4][7]



External linksEdit

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